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Winner All The Way

Xiaomi Mi A1, the first mid-segment smartphone to offer Android One in India, leaves little to be desired.
twitter-logo Nidhi Singal   New Delhi     Print Edition: October 8, 2017
Winner All The Way

The Mi A1 is the first Android One smartphone to be launched in the mid-segment (under Rs 15,000) category in India. Xiaomi and Google have teamed up to offer a delightful stock Android experience - no custom MIUI or preinstalled apps. On setting up the device, you will see a handful of apps from Google such as Gmail, YouTube, Chrome, Play Store, Duo, etc, along with the regular utility apps such as calendar and calculator. There is an option to instal the Mi Remote app and MIUI while setting up. The Mi A1 comes with built-in Google Assistant. I was able to set an alarm, play music, search on the web and do a lot more, without having to type or launch an app. Overall, the device was smooth to operate and no lag was experienced despite multiple apps running in the background.

Google's Android One promises to offer timely OS and security updates. The Mi A1 runs on Android 7.1.2 and is slated to receive the Oreo update by end of the year. It is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor paired with 4 GB of RAM. There is also a memory setting which displays the average memory used during the last three hours. Of the 64 GB of internal storage, only 7.87 GB is consumed by System settings and the rest is available for use. It has a hybrid dual SIM configuration and the secondary SIM slot can be used for the memory card (upto 128 GB). Being an Android One device, the Mi A1 gets unlimited storage space for backing up photos and videos on the cloud - this can be turned on from the default Google Photos app. However, the default camera app on the device is powered by Xiaomi; the device comes with dual cameras at the rear. Xiaomi has used a 12-MP wide-angle lens and a 12-MP telephoto lens to render the bokeh effect (or depth mode), where the subject is in focus while the background is blurred. With the Mi A1, one can expect sharp images with authentic colour reproduction.

The camera allows 2x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom. The Mi camera app also offers modes such as manual, group selfie, straighten and beautify, among others. While the camera performance was impressive in natural light and well-lit environment, the images captured in low light had a lot of noise. By default, the camera captures videos in HD resolution, but can be used for capturing full HD and 4K videos as well. The 5-MP front-facing camera, too, does a decent job.

The Mi A1, wrapped in all metal, boasts a 5.5-inch full HD display at the front and a circular fingerprint scanner at the rear. The speaker grill has been placed next to the Type C charging port. The 3,080 mAh battery lasted me a day with some charge still left. ~

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